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The White Russian: A Novel of Paris Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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“A sweeping novel of illicit passion and family secrets.” ―Red magazine (UK)
“A fast-paced novel of intrigue, family secrets, and love on the eve of World War II.” ―Toronto Star
“A dark and fascinating slice of little-known history.” ―Lancashire Evening Post (UK)
“Deeply romantic.” ―Good Housekeeping
“She tells a story . . . with unobtrusive skill and sympathy.” ―The Sunday Times (UK)
“Vanora Bennett captures the mood of the thirties to perfection, and her characters simply leap off the page.” ―Books Monthly
“This is a great, intriguing book that really grabs you. Perfect if you love historical novels.” ―Frost Magazine
“This well-researched piece is a thrilling page-turner.” ―The Lady (UK)
“A thoughtful read.” ―Historical Novels Review
“A gripping novel of forbidden passion and intrigue.” ―Woman & Home (UK)
About the Author
Vanora Bennett studied Russian at Oxford University and in the USSR. She began her career as a journalist at Reuters and went on to serve as the Moscow correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, winning a U.S. Overseas Press Club award for her writing on Russia. She now lives in Britain and has won the Orwell Prize for political writing for her work at The Times (UK). She is the author of several novels, including Portrait of an Unknown Woman and Midnight in St. Petersburg, as well as books of nonfiction.
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Top Customer Reviews
I’ll say up front that I did not finish this book. I got about 130 pages in before I decided to stop. I started skimming through it well before that. There was one chapter just before I stopped that caught my attention and made me read word for word, feeling sympathy for the character in the scene (not Evie), but the next chapter was back to skimming.
Nothing interesting happens in the first 100 pages. It’s mostly backstory, atmosphere, and scenery. I wasn’t able to form a connection to any of the characters, which makes it hard to want to see what happens to them next.
I just didn’t connect with this story. It wasn’t for me at all. If you love Russian history, or stories with the feel of The Great Gatsby, this might be for you.
With some real historical figures to lend authenticity to this tale of intrigue Ms. Bennett has crafted a splendid story of love - lost and new - as well as adventure and suspense.
Evie, the main character, has a difficult and distant relationship with her mother. After graduation from college she travels, on a whim, from New York to Paris to meet the bohemian grandmother she never had the chance to know. She arrives too late. Her grandmother has suffered a stroke and by the next day she has died.
"Why had she come all the way across the world to visit a family member, yet knew so little about the grandmother who'd died that she'd been reduced to driving around Paris at night, asking strangers questions about names scribbled on bits of paper?" (Pg. 159)
What ensues is a story of lost love and family secrets; leading Evie into a web of deceptions revolving around her grandmother's true past and the displaced Russian emigrants with whom she surrounded herself.
**I think the choice of title for this book was unfortunate because it is too easily confused with another novel of the same name written in 2004.